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Digital Africa, 2017, illustration, cell phone
The 10 winning start-ups of the second digital innovation competition for sustainable development, Digital Africa, were announced in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) on 27 November 2017. The projects are audacious, surprising and relevant, reflecting the digital Africa of the 21st century.

Not every geek manages to get on the home screen of global digital innovation. California figures prominently, so do countries like India, South Korea and France. But a continent has been shaking up the codes of this small world for a long time now: Africa. It too has its stars from the financial world willing to give a helping hand to the little geniuses of African digital technology. It too is hyper connected, experiencing rapid change, and ready to model itself a high-definition future.

“Digital innovation is abundant in Africa. With Digital Africa, by supporting start-ups that are standard bearers for African digital ecosystems, AFD is fulfilling its development mandate for education and innovation in this digital age.” 

Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD

In September 2017, AFD, Bpifrance and La French Tech launched the second edition of the Digital Africa challenge, a competition for start-ups and digital innovations for sustainable development.

The subject inspired keyboard Stakhanovites: 770 applications were submitted to the jury composed of five professionals and experts in digital innovation (see their profiles at the bottom of the page). 

Among these hundreds of contenders, the 10 best projects for sustainable development in Africa were selected. These five African start-ups and five French start-ups are our 2017 winners. Here are their projects: 

  •   Vocational integration category - Africa

Etudesk is an e-learning platform offering business-focused courses to allow students, jobseekers and workers to upgrade their professional skills.

Digital Africa, Etudesk
  • Urban – Africa

Clean City
Clean City is a social mobile application which aims to help clean up polluted areas in cities and keep them up to the expectations of their residents.


Digital Africa, Ville Propre
  •  Training – Africa

Tuteria is an online platform that connects people seeking to learn about anything they want with local experts verified by their communities.

Digital Africa, Tuteria
  • Agriculture – Africa

LishaBora provides inputs and practices, and jointly manages products for small-scale dairy producers in Kenya. The start-up also offers fodder and farm management services and can come up with banking and credit solution

Digital Africa, LishaBora
  • Education – Africa

Volkeno is developing a device for distance learning on new technologies, even if there is no Internet connection. It aims to promote vocational integration for young people.

Digital Africa, Volkeno
What do you win?

All the winners of this second edition of the Digital Africa challenge will benefit from unprecedented visibility and privileged access to a global network of partners, clients and investors. They will join a community that gathers the top talents in digital innovation, in Africa and for Africa, for the sharing of experiences and practices.
The five winning African start-ups will be supported by AFD via an “acceleration pack”, with personalized technical and financial assistance for a maximum value of EUR 30,000. 

The five winning French start-ups will be supported by Bpifrance, which will offer them a “support pack” for a maximum value of EUR 10,000 to strengthen their expertise and develop new opportunities in Africa.

  •  Citizenship – France

ethicPhone is the leading virtual mobile phone operator (MVNO) in France offering an international money transfer and mobile phone service.

  • Transport – France 

Yellow Relay
Yellow Relay is a digital platform for e-deliveries of parcels and mail from France to Africa using pick-up points to make up for the lack of physical addresses.

  • Urban – France 

Wexity is a platform that collects, manages and analyzes data related to a territory and allows public policies to be formulated.

  • Digital publishing – France

YouScribe is a digital library composed of thousands of e-books and documents with unlimited access everywhere on all devices: smartphones, tablets, computers.

  •  E-government - France

Gravity uses the Blockchain (decentralized and secure database) to provide identity e-documents to allow people who do not have official documents to subscribe to mobile phone services.

Further reading